Bishop of Winchester to Stand Down Six Weeks

The Church of England has announced and various news sites have reported that The Rt Revd Timothy Dakin, Bishop of the Diocese of Winchester has voluntarily stepped down for a period of six weeks.

Reports vary as to the precipitant cause.  The Church Times reported that between twenty and thirty senior church figures, both clergy and laity, had threatened to pass a no confidence motion at the next diocesan synod.

A spokesman for the Church of England said, “As the diocese of Winchester has already announced, Bishop Tim Dakin has stepped back for a period of six weeks, so that issues raised re:leadership and governance reform in the diocese can be addressed.  This process is now underway”.

In recent times, the Bishop was involved in a dispute with the Dean of Jersey over the way he managed a Safeguarding issue.  The disagreement led to the episcopal oversight of the Channel Islands being transferred to Diocese of Salisbury.  The Deaneries of Guernsey and Jersey had been under the episcopal care of the Diocese of Winchester for over 500 years before the conflict.

The Daily Mail reported that the Bishop of Southampton, The Rt Revd Deborah Mary Sellin would be taking on the care of the Diocese.  In her statement to the press, she said, “I fully support his decision.  Bishop Tim and Lambeth Palace have requested that, over this period, I temporarily take responsibility for the Diocese and I shall be working with the team at Wolvesey to ensure full continuity.  I realise that, even before today’s news, this has been an enormously challenging fifteen months for us all as a diocese and as a church—as it has been for the entire country”.

The Church Times also reported that the Rt Revd David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke and senior suffragan in the Diocese, was in sympathy with those threatening the motion of no confidence and has also stepped back from responsibilities.